Uduak Grace Flourish recounts her experience with impressive precision in detail. She was a teacher until the pandemic in 2020, which forced schools to close for months. Teachers were consequently left without pay, plunging several homes like Lady Uduak’s into impoverishment and lack. As a single mother with no other source of income, Uduak watched her children go hungry and sadly could not do anything to change their situation.

“During the lockdown, there was nothing to eat. I used to enter the bush and uncompleted buildings to look for waterleaf and snails. Even on the platform where I belong, I put out distress messages about my children’s condition and family, but unfortunately, comments from the group members were not encouraging. It was a tough period for us,” Uduak recounts.

In 2020, Uduak met with a life-transforming program of HELWEI for female farmers and agro vendors, sponsored by the Women’s Voice and Leadership Project with support from WRAHP, ActionAid Nigeria, and funding from Global Affairs Canada. With a passion to end the poverty situation in her family, Lady Flourish took a long 20-kilometre walk of hope in search of HELWEI to attend the empowerment program. During the training, she began to get business ideas. On her way home from the training, she bought N500 worth of unripe plantain and started a business that has now changed her life forever.

At the end of the training, Lady Uduak was fortunate to be one of the beneficiaries to receive the N40,000.00 microcredit. This microcredit became a critical booster for her business. She used the money to purchase industrial gas and standard chef’s frying utensils. Today, her business has advanced from making plantain chips to processing plantain for plantain flour, beans for beans flour, among other products. Before the training and grant award, Lady Flourish was squatting in a small room within the school premises where she was a teacher. Now, she has moved into her own house and has a registered business name.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank HELWEI, Madam Ebere, her sponsors WRAHP, ActionAid Nigeria, and Global Affairs Canada. I want to say a very big thank you because you guys have really wiped away my tears and those of my family. My children can confidently eat, they can go back to school, and we can pay our bills. I don’t know, I’m just short of words.”

  • Uduak Grace Flourish, CEO – Udy Foods